Governor in Delhi; BJP for scrutiny of those sought to be named
The nomination of five members to the Karnataka Legislative Council, a prerogative of the State government (ruling party) as envisaged under the Constitution, is expected to hit a roadblock with Governor H.R. Bhardwaj away on tour and the principal Opposition party in the Legislative Assembly, the Bharatiya Janata Party, demanding that there should be close scrutiny of the persons sought to be nominated, particularly that active politicians should be kept away.
Meanwhile, confusion prevails on whether or not the Governor has tendered his resignation although he has categorically conveyed that he will complete his term. Mr. Bhardwaj, who took charge as Governor on June 29, 2009, has only 12 days left before he demits office, and, according to a top Karnataka BJP leader, he is not being pressured to put in his papers.
The State government (Chief Minister), it is said, has prepared a list of five persons —V.S. Ugrappa, Jaimala, Abdul Jabbar, Iqbal Ahmed Saradgi, and Shanthakumar — to be nominated as members of the Council. The file containing the names is in the office of the Chief Minister and is yet to be sent to the Governor, given the fact that the law prescribes that the nominations can be effected only on the end of term of the incumbent nominated members. While the incumbent members will retire on June 21, the Governor, who is presently in New Delhi, is also expected to arrive in Bangalore the same day.
Interestingly, the State government has sought to convey to the Governor that the names being recommended for nomination is in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. While Mr. Ugrappa’s name has been recommended on the grounds that he is into social service, Mr. Jaffar and Mr. Saradgi have been identified as educationists, Ms. Jaimala has been identified as a person involved in arts, and Mr. Shanthakumar as a person involved in rehabilitation of those rescued from child labour.
Earlier, Mr. Bhardwaj had disapproved the nomination of the former Minister V. Somanna to the Legislative Council (a recommendation was made by the B.S. Yeddyurappa government) on the grounds that he was an active politician. The Governor had subsequently approved the recommendation to nominate B.B. Shivappa, former State BJP president.
It is this aspect which has prompted the Karnataka BJP unit to call upon the Governor to reject the recommendation to nominate Mr. Ugrappa, former Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council.
The BJP has asked Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to advise the Governor “to reject” the State government’s recommendation to nominate five party functionaries to the Council and said “it goes against the Constitution”.
The provisions of Article 177 of the Constitution, under which the Governor nominates members to the Council, does not have any direct reference to politicians although it clearly conveys that people from the fields of art, literature, science, cooperative movement and social services are eligible for nomination.